Spotted Towhee

By Myrna Pearman, Mother Nature’s Naturalist and Backyard Birding Expert

One of the most recognizable and beloved backyard birds in B.C. is the Spotted Towhee. It is found throughout coastal and interior Douglas-fir forests as well as in riparian thickets throughout the ponderosa pine-dominated parkland areas.

A large sparrow with a cat-like call, bright red eyes, and distinctive plumage highlighted by rusty flanks and a long tail, it is commonly seen in agricultural areas as well as suburban gardens and parks.

Although quite shy and solitary, Spotted Towhees are highly visible because they are active during the day. They are often seen hopping along the ground and rummaging noisily—using their classic two-footed backward hop—through dry leaves in search of food. When disturbed, they will flick their wings and will sometimes flash the white corners in their tails.

These birds are omnivores, dining on insects, ground-dwelling beetles, spiders and other arthropods during the breeding season, then switching to seeds and berries during the fall and winter.

Although furtive, towhees will often visit ground and tray feeders that are placed close to protective shrubbery. They will dine on sunflower chips, millet, cracked corn, peanuts and other nuts, wheat and canary grass seed. Ideal Buckerfield’s blends to offer include Buckerfield’s Major Attraction, Buckerfield's Original, Buckerfield's Backyard Blend, Waste-free Nut Mix, Seed and Grub Mix, Nutty Temptations, Nature’s Grub Happy Flock and Hen/Chick Scratch.

Spotted Towhees usually nest on or closer to the ground, so offering them a patch of thick shrubbery that is protected from roaming cats may entice a pair to take up residence.

Have more questions? Visit your local Buckerfield's and we'll be happy to help!

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